Technology never stands still; it's always changing, adapting and progressing, and oftentimes things that seemed improbable (or even impossible) one year can quickly start becoming possible only a few short years afterwards. Nobody know for sure which technology humans will adopt to quickly. But here is the list of what we would likely see from next year and beyond
1. Artificial Intelligence
The advancements being made in algorithms and compute capabilities has seen what was once the reserve of science fiction fully establish itself in science fact.
2. Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality has been around in one form or another for decades, but it's only recently that technology has reached a point where it is actually good, which means that it might actually have some staying power. The technology is also significantly breaking down barriers in terms of opening up the world for people to explore. Take Google Earth VR for example, this will allow users to fly over a city, stand on mountains and even go into space.
3. Renewable energy
Inspired by Marty McFly's self-lacing trainers in Back to the Future II a University of Central Florida scientist has developed filaments that harvest and store the sun's energy and can be woven in to textiles.
4. 3D bio printing
3D printed ones could revolutionise the treatment for broken bones. Using 3D printing to create a lattice pattern cast combined with an ultrasound system a Turkish industrial designer called Deniz Karasahin says that it could help bones heal up to 40% faster. The lattice design is to remove the nuisance of a smelly and itchy cast and the ultrasound system, known as LIPUS, can be applied for 20 minutes a day in order to help speed up the healing process.
5. Autonomous vehicles
Linked to artificial intelligence and just as controversial a topic, the driverless car or autonomous vehicle is attracting interest and investment from car manufacturers and tech companies around the world. Samsung recently made an $8bn investment into driverless cars and the likes of Google is also investing heavily in making this a reality.
Blockchain technology is established as the next revolution in transaction or event recording. A blockchain ledger provides an immutable, shared view of all transactions between engaging parties in a distributed, decentralized network. While the bitcoin blockchain ledger is itself well-understood, blockchain remains an immature technology. By 2020, new businesses and business models will emerge based on smart contracts and blockchain efficiencies. These smart contracts automate at a reliability, customization level and speed not achievable with traditional business systems.
Organizations will strive to make healthy lifestyle a part of company culture. Fitness trackers and gamification can help inspire employees to stay fit and relay data to a health and fitness analytics platform. Anonymized data harnessed from the fitness trackers will allow enterprises to make more informed choices among health care benefits and insurance packages, potentially reducing expenses, while providing similar value to employees.
8. Voice Recogniion
Many teens already use voice search daily and new audio-centric technologies, such as Google Home and Amazon's Echo, are turning "voice first" interactions into ubiquitous experiences. By eliminating the need to use your hands and eyes for browsing, vocal interactions extend the web experience to multiple activities, such as driving, cooking, waking, socializing, exercising, operating machinery, etc. By the end of 2017, watch for room-based screenless devices to be in more than 10 million homes.
9. Internet Of Things
It will be far more democratic: accessible to everyone, rich and poor. The excitement of the internet of things will be a small footnote in history as the internet of everywhere becomes our reality. Internet of Things (IoT) devices will become intelligent things delivering the power of AI enabled systems everywhere including the home, office, factory floor, and medical facility.
As intelligent things evolve and become more popular, they will shift from a stand-alone to a collaborative model in which intelligent things communicate with one another and act in concert to accomplish tasks.
10. The beginning of the end for cancer
The emergence of real-time diagnostics for complex diseases will mark the beginning of the end of their debilitating reign by 2020. The ability to monitor cancer, the dynamic immune system, intestinal flora and pre-diabetes in real-time will change the nature of medicine and usher in a new era of human health where wellness is protected versus illness treated. As a result, fundamental shifts in healthcare will occur, causing it to become largely preventative rather than fire-fighting. It's far more productive and economical to stop a fire from happening in the first place than to rebuild something after the fire has taken its course.
Ugonna Alinnor is a Data Scientist and Machine Learning Expert. He is the founder of Cartwheel Technologies an Artificial Intelligence company based in Lagos, Nigeria.